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Trot N.A. Cup Spring Book: #1

Published: April 26, 2020 6:30 pm ET

Last Comment: April 27, 2020 12:23 am ET | 4 Comment(s) | Jump to Comments

Trot Insider continues to profile the horses predicted to be the top contenders for Canadian harness racing's richest prize, the 2020 Pepsi North America Cup.

This year's edition of the North America Cup was originally slated to be contested on Saturday, June 20 at Woodbine Mohawk Park. On Wednesday (April 15), Woodbine Entertainment CEO Jim Lawson announced the race would be postponed due to the global COVID-19 pandemic.

Prior to the viral outbreak, TROT Magazine compiled its annual ranking of the horses expected to be in contention for the 2020 Pepsi North America Cup.

Continuing the countdown, Papi Rob Hanover comes at #1 in TROT Magazine's 2020 Pepsi North America Cup Spring Book at odds of 5-2.

The Somebeachsomewhere - Panera Hanover colt comes into his three-year-old season after hitting the board in all 12 of his freshman starts for owner David McDuffee and winning half of them. Papi Rob Hanover earned $846,039 and took a mark of 1:50 at Dover Downs when he captured the Matron. His victories also included the Governors Cup, Breeders Crown Elimination, a division and Championship of the Pennsylvania Sire Stakes. Trained by Brett Pelling, Papi Rob Hanover was second in his Metro elimination and Final and was first placed second in the Breeders Crown Final.

Trot Insider had a chance to catch up with Pelling to discuss Papi Rob Hanover and the unprecedented times the world is facing.

How are you managing with the COVID-19 outbreak?

“I knew the people that died, it’s amazing the people you know are here today and gone tomorrow. I live in the country so we don’t see it as much but when you go into the city and you see people in masks and gloves and it’s eerie, I’m sure people are losing their minds. But, we’re taking all the precautions, it’s not good living our lives this way but it is the way it is, we have to do what we can and pray that we get through it. We have 26 horses and seven grooms plus myself, not all of them have been coming every day. One of the difficult things about it all is that out of the 26 horses, we have 20 of them that are in training and preparing them for stakes season. All of my horses are fit and healthy and when the day comes they give us two weeks notice that we will be racing, I’ll be good to go.”

How do you think the industry will react to getting back racing?

“I’m sure there are people who will go to race in the Peaceful Way stakes, for example, and think that they need to have two qualifiers and two races before they are ready to race but I don’t believe in qualifying. Trainers let drivers train their horses in qualifiers and I think they need to be better trainers and get to know their horses.”

Where did he winter?

“He wintered at my house. I didn’t want him out of my sight so I took him home. I have some acreage for turning them out and a three-stall barn, it was a mild winter and he quite enjoyed it.”

When did you start back with him?

“He came back in around January 15th.”

Where are you at with him now?

“He’s basically ready to go. He’s just in a hold now and I can see looking at him that he is nice and trim and he’s getting quite ornery about things and that tells me that he is ready to go.”

How has his disposition changed from last year?

“He’s more of a man now, he knows a lot more about what he wants now and he's worked out that he is not a boy but he is still pleasant, he is a beautiful horse to be around but he now knows the difference between boys and girls. He’s never had any problems and he's never done anything ever wrong. He’s a beautiful horse to train and a lovely animal.”

Were you planning on coming to Canada for the Somebeachsomewhere stakes?

“It really would have depended on if I would have been able to race him a couple times in Pennsylvania or not. A horse of his caliber, it’s nice to have options. I know one thing that won't happen - if they let horses into Canada but won’t let the people go then he will not be going to Canada, he will not go there without me and that’s just the way it is. I’m not going to spend five months getting him ready to turn around and let him out of my sight for three weeks. So, there are a lot of factors going forward that can change things. I brought the horse to my house and I have been with him every single day, so he can’t go to Canada without me. I would imagine there are other people with horses that feel the same as I do. You don’t get horses ready for five months that are worth millions of dollars to send them off to someone who doesn't eat and breathe them.”

What is he staked to aside from NA Cup?

“He’s staked for everything. He’s been a special horse since the get-go. He’s been so perfect that when he was being staked for his two-year-old year, his three-year-old year was being mapped out as well.”

At what point in his two-year-old year did you think he was NA Cup caliber?

“I thought he was a special horse in January of his two-year-old year. I know some guys say you can't tell and there's horses that surprise you but there are horses that come along from day one that leave you saying 'wow', and that’s what he did.”

Do you have any other horses that are NA Cup eligible?

“I have Allywag Hanover, he’s a good looking high-speed horse. I got him January 15th and he’s trained down with Papi Rob Hanover.”

What is Papi Rob Hanover's biggest asset?

“His strength, and everything he does is effortless.”

Would you compare him to Rocknroll Hanover?

“I think he is 100 percent in the same category as him but I think he has a better gait to him and a better nature. Rocknroll Hanover was a horse you had to be careful with, he could tweak at any time but this horse, his disposition is gorgeous.”

Previous Spring Book Profiles:

Trot N.A. Cup Spring Book: #2
Trot N.A. Cup Spring Book: #3
Trot N.A. Cup Spring Book: #4
Trot N.A. Cup Spring Book: #5
Trot N.A. Cup Spring Book: #6
Trot N.A. Cup Spring Book: #7
Trot N.A. Cup Spring Book: #8
Trot N.A. Cup Spring Book: #9
Trot N.A. Cup Spring Book: #10

April 27, 2020 - 12:23 amI just cant see any of these

I just cant see any of these horses being better than Tall Dark Stranger

April 27, 2020 - 12:12 amThanks for reminding me, I'm

Jim Brown SAID...

Thanks for reminding me, I'm confusing the NA cup with another race because how could I forget Betting Line, I was in the winner circle with him when he won the Jug! May 2020 bring you your first Hambletonian win with 'Real Cool Sam', Dave.

April 26, 2020 - 7:24 pmThanks for the comment Jim -

Dan Fisher SAID...

Thanks for the comment Jim - as far as David Miller and the NA Cup though, don't forget about Fear The Dragon & Betting Line.

April 26, 2020 - 7:05 pmTruly is my number one pick

Jim Brown SAID...

Truly is my number one pick and I'll be very happy to see Dave Miller get his first NA cup win. This horse was coming on very well late last season, expect big things out of him this season. Now that the NA cup has been pushed back, the likely hood of a new track record is very possible. What level do I put Papi Rob Hanover? I put him at 2020 horse of the year.

I'llHaveAnother - Ontario needs racing (Hopefully very soon)

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